Coach Dave Wessels says his Melbourne Rebels are off to a "dream start" after ousting the Brumbies to maintain their unbeaten run at the top of the Australian Super Rugby standings.
The Rebels have maximum points after their opening three games, scoring five tries to two in the 33-10 win at AAMI Park on Friday to book a bonus point.
It's the first time the club has ever won three games in succession and meant they maintained their healthy buffer on the second-placed NSW Waratahs.
"It's a bit of a dream start to be able to not only win the game but win it with a bonus point," Wessels said.
"These derby game are like 10-points games because not only are you winning but your opposition isn't, so it's a really important win for us."
The match was closer than the scoreline suggested, with the Rebels only holding a 14-10 lead until the 65th minute.
The Brumbies lost reserve prop Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin to a yellow card three minutes earlier after repeated infringements and in his absence the Rebels scored three tries - through Reece Hodge, Jack Maddocks and reserve halfback Michael Ruru - to consign the visitors to their second straight loss.
Compounding their misery lock Sam Carter (head knock) and hooker Josh Mann-Rea (hamstring) were first-half casualties and could miss next Saturday's first home game against the Sharks.
Coach Dan McKellar said the yellow card proved the turning point.
"In the first 20 minutes of the second half we were the dominant side and we started to see signs of how we want to play," he said.
"But then the sin-bin, three tries ... they took their opportunities."
Melbourne were their own worst enemy early, with the penalty count 5-0 after just five minutes.
The last resulted in hooker Jordan Uelese being yellow-carded for repeated infringements.
Needing to keep a hooker on the field the Rebels reshuffled their side with winger Sefa Naivalu heading off and the Brumbies made the most of the shortfall with Christian Lealiifano throwing a floating pass wide to winger Chance Peni to open the scoring.
Melbourne were still starved of possession, only playing with 15 per cent of the ball after 20 minutes, however the tide started to turn with No.8 Amanaki Mafi levelling the score in the 29th minute.
The score was 14-5 at halftime thanks to a Reece Hodge try and Melbourne looked on a roll with two late first-half tries going begging.
The Brumbies regrouped and were in the hunt until they went a man down, with the physical Rebels making the most of it.
Wessels said the most pleasing thing was his that his players - a combination of ex-Western Force players and existing Rebels looked like a team.
"The real story is what we've been able to achieve over the last couple of months - we look like a team and feel like a team and a lot of people didn't think that was going to be possible," he said.
The Rebels next face the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday.